Romika Sudduth-Conley’s walk across the Humphrey Coliseum stage to receive her bachelor’s degree marked the fulfillment of a promise she made to her mother: This fall, the Research and Curriculum Unit project coordinator became the first in her family to obtain a degree from an institution of higher learning.
“Finishing my degree was important both personally and professionally to me. I was determined to keep that promise regardless of the completion time,” she said. “I’ve always instilled in my boys to never give up and always complete what you start, so completing was my only option. Not only did my future depend on obtaining this degree, but so did theirs.”
Before concluding a four-year stint with Mississippi State University’s Facilities Management and moving to the RCU, Sudduth-Conley worked as a Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District assistant teacher for 12 years. She went back to school in 2011 to pursue a degree in elementary education, but financial and personal reasons forced her to withdraw from school and get a job as a bank teller. It was that experience that changed her career goals to business.
Sudduth-Conley worked on a business administration degree until pausing her studies in 2017. Once she joined the RCU, she said coworkers encouraged her to finish her degree. She sought assistance through Complete 2 Compete, a Mississippi program that helps adults find the quickest pathway to graduation.
Although she was short of the necessary classes to receive a business degree, a C2C advisor pointed out she earned enough credits to claim a bachelor’s in general studies.
“I had so many hours in so many different things – business, psychology and elementary education, for example – because I was often unsure about what career path I wanted to pursue. It was so great to hear I was about to become a college graduate. It means a lot to me, my family, my boys and our futures,” she said. “Without the encouragement, I wouldn’t have known about this opportunity and gone forward. Everything happens when it does for a reason.”
With her degree in hand, Sudduth-Conley was promoted from her previous position as an administrative assistant within the RCU’s operations team. As a project coordinator, she helps maintain the RCU’s inventory, reconciles and oversees various funding streams and handles a variety of other aspects in day-to-day operations.
“It’s been a good experience. I’ve learned a lot – more than I thought I would – and that’s good. It’s a family oriented and supportive environment, and everyone is so understanding,” she said. “I found a perfect way to blend my passions for education and business here at the RCU.”
Bachelor of Arts, Mississippi State University
Sons Javier, 20, and Jourdan, 14; fur baby Piper
Becoming Michelle Obama
A Million Little Things and This Is Us
Reading, journaling, and shopping
Spending time with my family and friends.